Microsoft has taken to the stage at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to announce a major investment in its gaming arm, with the acquisition of four existing studios and the formation of a new wholly internal studio dubbed The Initiative.

In a presentation by Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox gaming arm, attendees at E3 2018 were told the company had invested an unspecified sum of money to acquire four existing studios: Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory, Playground Games, and Undead Labs. At the same time, Spencer unveiled a brand-new internal studio, The Initiative, headed by Crystal Dynamics alumnus Darrell Gallagher.

In alphabetical order: Compulsion Games was founded in Quebec in 2009 by Guillaume Provost and developed platform-puzzler Contrast, released in 2013, and the upcoming survival game We Happy Few; Cambridge-based Ninja Theory was founded in 2004 as a rebrand of financially-struggling Just Add Monsters and is known for Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the Devil May Cry reboot DmC, and its 2017 hit Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice; Leamington Spa-based Playground Games was founded in 2009 and develops the Xbox and Windows exclusive Forza Horizon racing franchise; while Undead Labs was also founded in 2009, but in Seattle, and is responsible for the State of Decay zombie survival franchise as well as a cancelled mobile role-playing game dubbed Moonrise.

Spencer also claimed that Microsoft is joining the cloud gaming market, using its Azure platform as the basis, with the planned launch of a 'game streaming network to unlock console-quality gaming on any device' - including smartphones and tablets. Details of this service, however, were not provided.


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